Nothing makes me crankier than a fasting blood draw. I sweat it for weeks beforehand because it upsets my rhythm. My life is clock-work methodical. To the minute. Today is the first day I didn’t run in six months and my body is in shock. I have a nasty headache and was really feeling disoriented after 12 hours of nada. I was actually so irritated I didn’t even worry about what disease they might find. That’s different.
At 7:26 I pull into the VA parking lot and there they are, the wreckage from the past: walkers, oxygen, canes, bellies and campaign hats. Anxiety. I sit in my car taking it all in as the line grows and grows along with my caffeine deprived nerves. We’re told to take a number and my headache comes back. Coffee, please. I start looking around the packed waiting room and try to imagine what these guys looked like when they were back in the war. Omitting myself, of course.
They take five of us in the lab at a time and start sucking the blood out. They are extremely efficient. But it slows to a t-r-i-c-k-l-e…. when we are asked for a urine sample. After my last blood pull, I am wrapped up and told I am all set. It’s about time I’m thinking. As my caffeine “jones” rears its ugly head again I say, never again. I got lost twice trying to negotiate myself out those winding, Trump-lined corridors. Coffee, please.
One last sweep through the standing room only waiting room and I am once again brought to my injured, deprived, and outraged senses. I wonder what kind of shampoo I’ll need to wash that sight out of my brain. Back home, as I’m over filling my coffee into a 5 gallon cup, I am searching for a new yellow stickie to paste on my bathroom mirror.
O’Hearn: Shut the fuck up!